When it comes to love, there is no other authority better than Bollywood. After all, it is safe to say that scores of Hindi films that we have watched over the years have all centred on one aspect of love or another.
Therefore, here are, in no particular order, six lessons about love that Bollywood has imparted upon us in the last 25 years or so.
1.) It ain’t over until the saat pheras begin.
Think of films such as Chandni, Hum Aapke Hain Koun! and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, and you will know what I mean.
In each of these films, the star crossed lovers were ready to live a life devoid of one another, as they watched their beloved marry someone else.
However, at the last minute, their love was saved either by an accident, a dog’s intervention or that of a child, after which they proceeded to get married. And while on the subject on last-minute happy endings, who can forget Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge’s famous last scene?
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2.) You can’t go wrong with red roses.
Remember the scene in Silsila when Amitabh is lying in a hospital bed and Rekha comes to him holding a bouquet of red roses? Or how when Rishi Kapoor cascades red rose petals on Sridevi as she prances on the rooftop clad in white in Chandni? Or when Madhuri Dixit buys herself roses for Valentine’s Day in Dil to Pagal Hai?
These films (coincidentally all directed by Yash Chopra) were possibly the most romantic ones ever made, and taught us that the best way to express love is by opting for deep red roses. Even in the case of people who didn’t give much importance to romance, roses made an appearance — just think of all those garlands used at the proverbial suhaag raats in innumerable films.
The only exception to this rule arises when the film in question is called Red Rose, in which case you are a psychopath played by Rajesh Khanna, who buries the women he kills and plants rosebushes on their graves.
3.) You’ll find love in school — or college.
If there is anything that films like Student of the Year, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, 2 States and Dil have taught us it is that you must look for love while you are in school or college, otherwise you will miss the (love) boat. Therefore, don’t waste too much time studying.
However, your wooing methods can vary; you can tease her mercilessly (Dil) or in the case of Rock Star, watch a questionable film called Junglee Jawani together to ignite the sparks of passion.
4.) Pyar Dosti Hai (Love is friendship).
While these immortal words were uttered in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, they were contradicted in Maine Pyar Kiya (which was released many years earlier) when Mohnish Behl uttered, “Ek larka larki kabhi bhi dost nahin ban sakte.”
Behl be damned though, since many, many films have chosen this mantra as their central theme, sometimes to the extent that the love is almost forgotten, causing a bromance or friendship between the larka larki in question to take over the film, which was the case in films such as Dil Chahta Hai, Student of the Year and Yeh Jawaani hai Deewani.
This leads us to question whether it is love or friendship that matters the most to the millennials, but that is a story for another day.
Such films taught us that the best way to express love is by opting for deep red roses. Even in the case of people who didn’t give much importance to romance, roses made an appearance.
5.) The courtesan (rarely) finds love.
Only in rare cases such as in Pakeezah or Pyasa does the courtesan (a favourite feature of films in the ’70s and ’80s) ever get a happy ending.
Whether it was Umrao Jaan, Muqaddar Ka Sikandar or the three — or was it five? — incarnations of Devdas, the courtesan either commits suicide (remember Rekha as Zohra licking a diamond to kill herself?), or is left pining for her loved one, teaching us that love does not end well for those involved in the oldest trade in the world.
6.) Love knows no barriers.
This one is the most important lesson that Bollywood has taught us.
Simply put, it doesn’t matter if there is a significant age difference between you and your soul mate (Lamhe, Cheeni Kum), or a ‘status clash’ (Raja Hindustani and Maine Pyar Kiya), if your families hate each other (Ram Leela, Qayamat se Qayamat Tak), or even if have a disability (My Name is Khan, Barfi, Koshish), because despite all the trials and tribulations, you will find true love.
And if your beloved dies, have no fear, they may come back as a ghost, or be reincarnated. And if this is not possible, you will find someone who looks exactly like the dearly departed, which was the case in Kaho naa Pyaar Hai.
Published in Dawn, Sunday Magazine, February 8th, 2015
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